Changes, transitions and April fools

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Research Consulting News | Research Consulting

It feels like this April holds a lot of changes for many people. For me personally, it’s been a big change as I leave the higher education sector to work as a freelance consultant, but many of the people and organisations I work with are also facing a significant time of transition.

1 April was a key date for all those with an interest in the publication and dissemination of academic research in the UK. As well as being April Fool’s day, it was the day the Research Councils’ much-debated open access policy comes into effect – an irony not lost on one of the policy’s critics. This has big implications for UK higher education institutions and academic publishers, all of whom must grapple with the policy’s administrative and financial implications, as well as growing numbers of questionable operators.

This April should also see the formal creation of new Academic Health Science Networks across England, tasked with driving innovation in our National Health Service. These will add a new dynamic to the already (over?)complex environment in which clinical and health services research takes place, alongside the other upheavals within the NHS like the formation of Clinical Commissioning Groups. Suffice it to say that it remains to be seen exactly how all these new organisations are going to work together to deliver better research and faster adoption of innovative practices…

I suspect all of us are working out how to deal with changes one way or another, whether in our professional or personal lives. Author Karen Lamb offers a useful thought for those of us who don’t want to feel like an April Fool in 2014: “A year from now you may wish you had started today”.

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